EASTHAM TURNIPS, ROUTE 6, NOVEMBER
Honor System, the sign tacked to a scrub oak said,
and on the table a rusty tin box with a slot in the lid
next to a pile of dirty purplish-white turnips beside
a battered trembly scale. Eastham turnips Eastham
was once “famous” for, fall staple from the rocky ground
hapless settlers had no choice but to farm centuries ago,
back when there were woods, before the black walnut
trees were felled to build Cape houses and whaling boats.
The last of the turnip farmstands alongside a highway
that never existed when Eastham was all farms. What
else could grow here in the hardscrabble soil? Today, no
sign or scale, just an empty table, a dead patch of grass.
Trusted by strangers I never saw, I liked folding soft
George Washingtons through the slot for history’s sake
and bringing root vegetables home, and finding recipes
to make the bitter delicious. Gratins. Frittatas. Soups.